Michigan Licensed Beverage Association responds to new statewide gatherings and bar order

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan Licensed Beverage Association responded to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ (MDHHS) updated Gatherings and Face Mask Order that establishes mandatory contact tracing for bars and restaurants.

“It would be more productive to focus on identifying and solving the real problems,” said MLBA Executive Director Scott Ellis. “Only two COVID-19 outbreaks (defined as two or more cases linked to one place) were tied to bars in the most recent data gathered by MDHHS, which accounted for a two-week period ending October 22.

During that same period, zero ongoing clusters/outbreaks were being monitored. “This puts an unnecessary burden on servers and staff who already have to deal with trouble customers who refuse to wear masks,” Ellis said.

According to the order, Michigan, bars and restaurants will be required to take names and contact information to support contact tracing.

Research published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that visiting restaurants is a risk factor for COVID positivity, and currently, there are 10 outbreaks in Michigan associated with restaurants.

“While cases throughout the state are rising, bars and restaurants are keeping outbreaks at almost non-existent levels. If contact tracing is important, we should be doing it everywhere, not just in certain businesses to paint a bad picture,”Ellis said.

The epidemic order is effective immediately, except for the contact tracing portion for bars and restaurants, which goes into effect on November 2. The full order can be read here: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98178_98455-543708–,00.html

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